Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
I’m just going to get this slide out of the way.
With LeBron James’ imminent free agency on the horizon, there have been rumblings that the league’s best player will make a return to his home state. Despite devastating his former fanbase by taking his talents to South Beach, some believe James will attempt to appease those fans by returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers during the summer of 2014.
Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal explained the team’s plans (or perhaps lack of plans) leading up to the point when they can bring the former No. 1 overall pick back to Cleveland:
With the summer of 2014 quickly approaching, the length of a contract the Cavs will absorb is now limited.
Executives and agents around the league are convinced the Cavaliers won’t do anything to jeopardize their ability to sign a free agent to a max contract during the summer of 2014, when LeBron James can again become a free agent. As fans in Northeast Ohio continue to howl and remain divided about the possibility of his return, more and more people around the league believe there is a strong possibility James will indeed return to Cleveland after next season.
Lloyd writes that the Cavs will do very little to improve the team moving forward because they want to have the cap space available to sign James to a max deal in 2014.
The Cavs’ unwillingness to take on contracts in a trade has become a bit of a moot point of late, though. It was reported recently that Cleveland’s most appealing trade chip, Anderson Varejao, will miss the remainder of the season with a blood clot in his lung, according to Matt Moore of CBS Sports.
Although there are members of the NBA community who seem convinced that James would go back to the Cavs, I simply can’t see that happening.
James already spent seven seasons in Cleveland to start his NBA career. During that time, management was incapable of getting enough talent around James to win championships.
After moving to Miami, James won his first NBA title in his second season with his new team.
Even if James still has loyalty to Cleveland (and I believe we got the answer to this question during "The Decision"), it’s hard to see him leaving the success he’s had with the Heat.
As compelling as winning rings is, that doesn’t even include reasons outside of basketball, which people sometimes fail to take into account. For instance, the projected high temperatures from Monday through Friday in Cleveland this week are 23, 16, 18, 23 and 25 degrees. The projected high temperatures in Miami over that same span are 79, 75, 75, 75 and 79 degrees.
I’m not a rocket scientist, but I know that Miami’s winter weather is more appealing than Cleveland's.
Finally, there’s no guarantee that James will even become a free agent during 2014 free agency. His contract has an early termination option that he can exercise, but James may not even choose to do so.
If I had to put money on it, I’d say that James will stay in Miami. Even so, it doesn’t hurt to humor fans following this storyline.
Possible 2014-15 destinations: Miami Heat, Cleveland Cavaliers, New York Knicks